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Flexible citizens or disconnected transmigrants? Chinese student-turned-migrants in singapore and their discourse on mobility, flexibility, and identity

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Abstract

This chapter offers some considerations of the notion of (dis-)connectedness, drawing on a qualitative study of a group of Chinese student-turned-migrants in their mid- to late-20s in the Southeast Asian city-state Singapore. In contrast to analytical perspectives rooted in counseling and psychology, this chapter approaches (dis-)connectedness from a sociocultural perspective that is more conversant with discussions about migrants in sociology, sociocultural anthropology, and cultural studies. Specifically, it examines the student-turned-migrants’ discourse about mobility, “flexible citizenship,” and identity in relation to “culture,” society, and the nation-state. Among other things, it is found that young Chinese student-turned-migrants in Singapore working in skilled professional jobs have a positive attitude toward mobility and flexibility, which implies a readiness to disconnect with places and to be on the move. Furthermore, it is argued that information technology such as social media enables them to adopt a dialecticism between being connected and being disconnected, whereby alleged connection might in fact be manifestations of disconnect. It is cautioned toward the end of the chapter, however, that these findings about the subjective experiences of (dis-)connectedness must be viewed against contextual specificities such as the age group and career stage of the informants.

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APA

Yang, P. (2017). Flexible citizens or disconnected transmigrants? Chinese student-turned-migrants in singapore and their discourse on mobility, flexibility, and identity. In Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education (Vol. 6, pp. 227–242). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2601-0_13

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